Crafting Connections

June 24, 2024

RBC Foundation supports The Bentway’s new project by Anishinaabe artist Nico Williams.

RBC Foundation supports The Bentway’s new project by Anishinaabe artist Nico Williams.

This past Saturday, artist Skye Paul of Running Fox Beads led a community beading workshop inspired by the artistic practice of Williams and his artwork, Tracings.

William’s project, on display at The Bentway Skate Trail throughout our summer season, features a series of five sewn and appliqued patches incorporating large-scale Indigenous regalia designs that underscore the importance of healing and care for the well-being of our city.

During the workshop, participants learnt basic beading techniques and created their own unique beadwork. This allowed them to learn a new skill, deepen their knowledge of the craft, and better understand the role that beading plays in healing practices for many cultures and communities.

Thanks to RBC Foundation’s support, The Bentway can continue to collaborate and engage with artists who help to bring unique projects to our sites.

Read more about Tracings in this recent feature in The Art Newspaper!

about the artists

Nico Williams is a member of Aamjiwnaang First Nation (Anishinaabe).  He has a multidisciplinary, often collaborative practice that is centered around sculptural beadwork.  In 2021, he was awarded the prestigious Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowship in Contemporary Art. He has recently exhibited at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2021), the New York Armory Show (2023), PHI Foundation (2023), and the recent group exhibition, Indian Theater: Native Performance, Art, and Self-Determination since 1969, at the Hessel Museum of Art (2023).

Skye Paul, a Dene artist originally from Toronto, draws her inspiration from her family roots in Northern Saskatchewan, where she first delved into the art of beadwork. Her creative journey encompasses an array of mediums including beadwork, leatherwork, quillwork, and illustration. Skye’s artistic practice explores ancestral techniques and traditional materials, interwoven with influences from pop culture and Setsune’s Dene florals. In 2015, Skye made the decision to dedicate herself fully to her beadwork. Beyond mere artistic expression, her work embodies a profound sense of identity and cultural continuity. For Skye, being a mother is paramount, and her artistic endeavours serve as a means of survival, sustenance, and connection to her heritage and community.

Tammy Encosse: Bear Clan, Ojibway beadwork and leatherwork artist for 25 years. Born and raised in Toronto, ON, originally from Wikwemikong Unceded Reserve. Inspired by different women in the Indigenous community and working within for over 20 years.